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What Is Cyberbullying and How to Stop It

teenage girl staring bleakly at her smartphone wondering what is cyberbullying and how to stop it

Bullying is not a new phenomenon, but it has taken on new forms in recent years including a virtual form known as cyberbullying. Specifically, social media has given bullies a platform where they can relentlessly attack multiple victims around the clock, often under the guise of anonymity. With their nearly constant presence on social media platforms, teens are more susceptible to cyberbullying than ever. That is not to say that traditional in-person bullying does not still exist. Overall, instances of bullying that would have been overlooked in the past are taken much more seriously today.

At Imagine Nampa, we understand the severe and potentially lasting impacts of bullying, whether in person or online, known as cyberbullying. Through our mental health treatment programs, we help teens navigate the effects of bullying by assisting them in understanding the causes of bullying, how to deal with a bully in healthy ways, and how to cope with the impacts of bullying. Call us at 888.503.4604 to learn more about the benefits of treatment programs that address bullying.

What Is Cyberbullying?

The basic definition of cyberbullying is using electronic communication to bully someone. A cyberbully often hides behind the anonymity of a fake name or online identity. Cyberbullying includes sharing, posting, or directly sending harmful, false, derogatory, or malicious comments or content about another person. This can include sharing personal or private information with the intent of causing embarrassment or humiliation.

Cyberbullying commonly occurs on the following platforms:

  • Email
  • Online gaming communities
  • Social media, including Facebook, Snapchat, TikTok, and Instagram
  • Instant messaging, direct messaging, and online chatting on the internet
  • Text messaging and other messaging apps on phones and tablets
  • Chat rooms, message boards, and online forums

Parents should know that all states have laws requiring schools to address bullying. As cyberbullying becomes more prevalent, many states have included it under these laws.

Facts About Cyberbullying

According to, 95% of American teens are online, and most access the internet from mobile devices. With the vast majority of teens having nearly around-the-clock access to social media and the internet, cyberbullying has become rampant. While cyberbullying occurs across all age groups, it is most prevalent among teens.

Consider these facts about cyberbullying:

  • Over 60% of teens reported being the victim of cyberbullying in 2020, an increase of nearly 50% from 2019
  • Almost 25% of teens admit to being a perpetrator of cyberbullying
  • Girls are more likely than boys to be both perpetrators and victims of cyberbullying
  • About half of LGBTQ+ children and teens experience cyberbullying
  • The majority of teens who witness cyberbullying do not report it
  • The majority of teens who are the victims of cyberbullying do not report it
  • Social media platforms and online gaming sites have the highest rates of cyberbullying
  • Smartphone use is linked to increased rates of cyberbullying

The rates of anxiety, depression, self-harm, and suicidal ideation have sharply increased in recent years. Research indicates that cyberbullying is a significant contributing factor to these increases.

What Are the Different Types of Cyberbullying?

Cyberbullying causes significant emotional pain and psychological damage. Victims of cyberbullying experience higher rates of isolation, loneliness, low-self esteem, poor self-worth, and other mental health symptoms. Meanwhile, perpetrators of cyberbullying have higher rates of aggression, delinquency, risky behavior, and substance abuse.

Cyberbullying can take on numerous forms, but the most common tactics include:

  • Starting rumors to damage someone’s reputation
  • Posting cruel, hurtful, or embarrassing comments
  • Sharing embarrassing videos or pictures
  • Asking hostile questions designed to hurt someone’s feelings
  • Making threats of physical or sexual violence
  • Encouraging or suggesting that someone self-harm or commit suicide
  • Making derogatory comments about someone’s appearance, race, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity, or religion

Cyberbullies often pose as someone else to elicit personal information from someone they then use against them or create false accounts using their victim’s identity. Unlike face-to-face bullying, cyberbullies can hide behind a sense of anonymity, which can make their attacks even harsher.

Contact Imagine Nampa for Help with Cyberbullying

At Imagine Nampa, we understand the harmful effects of cyberbullying for all involved. Through our mental health treatment programs, we can not only help victims of cyberbullying overcome the harmful impacts, but help perpetrators uncover the reasons they act out in this way. Contact us at 888.503.4604 to learn more about the causes and impacts of cyberbullying and how treatment can benefit your teen.